A skilled worker with experience removing squatters said he helped an elderly woman reclaim her Hollywood home from Iron Chef winner and former judge Adam Fleischman, who she claimed was living there rent-free.
After the woman Claudia called him, Flash Shelton went to the house and confronted Fleischman for living in the house since May without ever paying rent.
The handyman filmed the situation and posted it on his site YouTube channelHopefully the media attention will encourage the Umami Burger founder to come out.
Fleishman confirmed to Fox News that he left the house on October 2 and no longer lives there.
“I asked him if he felt like he owed her any money, and if he realized that he had basically broken this woman,” Shelton told Fox News Digital, adding that Claudia said she was facing bankruptcy. “He’s just saying it’s not his fault.”
Fleishman said he intended to “pay the rent and be a regular tenant,” but didn’t because he didn’t get a lease when he moved in.
He said he does not consider himself a squatter.
“I did not pay the rent because she deliberately did not provide the keys, agreement, etc.,” he told Fox News Digital in a text message. “Property owners or those who rent a room have responsibilities.”
“She didn’t ask for rent for the first two or three months,” Fleishman added. “I thought she had some credit or something.”
Claudia told Fox News Digital that she believes “the system is broken” because she was unable to remove Fleischmann Without going to court.
“We kept asking him for months to leave, but he refused, and the police say it is illegal to force him to leave or lock him up,” she said.
Claudia, who says she had rented the house for 29 years, added before he moved out: “He paid no deposit, no rent, he doesn’t have a lease or any keys.”
Fleishman left after Shelton found out the chef would have to take him to civil court if he locked the door, the handyman told Fox News Digital.
Claudia said she suffers from a medical condition that is exacerbated by stress.
Fox News Digital agreed to withhold her last name because she fears the media attention could harm her health.
Fleishman suggests money-making events
Claudia said she posted an ad on Craigslist in the spring — with permission from her landlord — to help find people to pay the rent.
After Fleishman responded to the ad, the two agreed to host dinner parties and charge per dish at home with the beautiful goal of generating income.
The homeowner did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
“He said partnering with us would pay for the entire house,” Claudia said.
“I felt like if he had this much success, maybe he knew how to be successful,” she said in one of Shelton’s videos.
Claudia Fleishman was not provided with a lease.
Another tenant, Tiffany Workman, said she didn’t get one either because Claudia told her “it came out of her heart.”
Claudia said Fleishman didn’t pay her after the first event, which she said happened around April, and she then realized he used her credit card to buy his own supplies.
When she confronted him about getting the money the night of the event, he told her she would have to wait until the next event, according to Claudia.
Fleishman denied using her card.
Claudia provided Fox News Digital with a bank statement showing disputed charges on her account with a note saying she was under investigation.
“He didn’t pay me, used my credit card and forged my signature to buy food for the event, and I realized I was in trouble,” Claudia said. “He was just a con man.”
Fleishman told Fox News Digital that Claudia’s accusation was “made up by a crazy person.” He also said that they were on good terms during the first three months.
Although he admitted to not paying rent, Fleischman told Fox News Digital that he contributed to utilities and “household expenses.”
Claudia said she struggled to find other tenants because of Fleishman.
“Because he’s there, I’m paying triple the rent because no one would rent him if he was in my house,” Claudia, 62, said before Fleischmann left. “Being elderly, having recently lost my husband, and having a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident, it’s stressful enough, and now this is a nightmare I have to face alone.”
When asked why he decided to stay home after Claudia asked him to leave, Fleischmann said: “How can four months be so long? Confused.”
“It’s not like I’ve been here for years,” he added.
The derandomizer intervenes
Shelton, who once successfully removed squatters from his mother’s home, said he helped Claudia for free.
“I asked [Fleischman] If he had any guilt at all, he felt no obligation to her and said, “Certainly not.” “I’m just trying to understand where his head is and how he can live like this.”
The famous chef noted that he did not receive a lease or keys.
“Well, it’s not really a full lease,” Fleishman said. “So, I wouldn’t pay full rent for something where I didn’t get real rent.”
In his video, Shelton included footage from cameras placed around the house that show Fleischmann telling two men: “After she dies, I’m going to give you guys the first shot in the rooms.”
Another video posted by Shelton shows Los Angeles Police Department officers giving the handyman permission to place cameras throughout the house as long as he is not filming in the bedroom occupied by Fleischman.
The LAPD also told Claudia that they could not deny him access and that they could not help her because the situation was a civil matter.
“The city of Los Angeles, with the rental laws and how they work, it could take months,” a police officer told Claudia in the video. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.”
“As far as the crew is concerned, if they can try their methods and see if that works,” the officer said, referring to Shelton.
An LAPD spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the situation is a “civil matter,” but did not comment further.
Fleishman has not been charged or charged with any criminal conduct.
Shelton said he is raising money on GoFundMe to pay for helping others remove squatters.
“The GoFundMe is for her and others, but it’s also to fund efforts to change slum laws and help everyone,” Shelton said.
Hospitality group SBE acquired a majority stake in Umami Burger in 2016, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.
Fleishman opened his new restaurant, Slow Burn, in 2022, but it closed its doors without explanation weeks after its opening. According to Eater Los Angeles.
“It’s a shame that this could happen to anyone, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” Shelton said. “That doesn’t give you a reason to destroy someone else.”
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